It's Archaeology, but not as we know it...

 

Rather than unearthing artefacts from the ground, University of Sydney archaeology undergraduate student Jane Rooke is ‘excavating’ from boxes.

During her ten week student placement at Hyde Park Barracks Museums, Jane will help us rediscover some of the long forgotten treasures of the Hyde Park Barracks' unstratified archaeology material.

These 'surface' finds have been boxed up in a dusty shed for years, and were considered less important by archaeologists than those found underground. However, we can put them to good use in the museum.

Not afraid of getting her hands dirty, Jane is carefully re-bagging, labelling, selecting and interpreting curious artefacts such as clay tobacco pipes, transfer printed ceramics, animal bones and glass bottles – one example even has its paper label intact! These will be used to inspire young minds in the hands-on Archaeology Underfoot education program.

The larger Hyde Park Barracks archaeology collection of around 100,000 artefacts is one of the most important and unique assemblages of 19th century institutional life anywhere in the world. The artefacts were dug up in Australia’s first publicly funded archaeology program which ran from 1980 to 1981.

About the Author

Fiona seated in hammock in Hyde Park Barracks.
Dr Fiona Starr
Curator
The Mint and Hyde Park Barracks Museum
Fiona claims her love of Australian history, genealogy and world history is hereditary – passed on by her mother and grandmother.
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